Facebook Launching “Messeger Kids” in Sub Saharan Africa. What Parents Need To Know.

Valentine Muhamba Avatar

Messenger Kids is Facebook looking at the need for video chat and messaging services from a different angle. There are concerns when it comes to children on the internet or using connectivity apps. All parents want to know if what their children are consuming online is safe and if the apps they use protect their privacy.

Back in April Facebook announced:

“Messenger Kids is a fun, parent-controlled way for kids to connect with close friends and family. Parents trust us to protect their children’s data, and we take that responsibility seriously. When building Messenger Kids we worked closely with parents, parenting organizations, child safety and privacy advocates, and child development experts around the world to understand what parents and kids need in a messaging app. We incorporated this feedback into strong privacy protections for data collection and use, ensuring parents can oversee their child’s activity in the app.”


The service was rolled out in other parts of the world and is now available in Sub Saharan Africa.

What parental controls are in place?

A Parent sets up an account for their child and after that they are in control through the Parent Dashboard:

“1. See who their child interacts with and how frequently, as well as recent images and videos shared in a Messenger Kids chat

2. See contacts blocked by their child or any reports submitted

3. Remove or report any recent images or videos parents find inappropriate 

4. See devices where their child is logged in to Messenger Kids and log their child out of the app from any device 

5. Download their child’s Messenger Kids information, similar to how adults can download their own information on Facebook”


Privacy, Targeted Ads and Content?

“We build strong privacy protections into the collection and use of Messenger Kids data. As with our other apps, we collect information from Messenger Kids such as your child’s name, shared content, contacts and activity in the app primarily to provide the service and improve the product experience. There are no ads in Messenger Kids and no in-app purchases. And we don’t use children’s data from the Messenger Kids app to inform ads on our other apps.”


The temptation is always to monetise any new platform, glad to see that they have addressed this from the beginning. The privacy concerns are still there, but they have promised in their privacy policy that they won’t harvest that data for any other purpose but to enhance the experience. I guess we will have to see how far they keep on this track.

“When a parent signs their child up for a Messenger Kids account, we don’t create a profile for the child on Facebook and we don’t automatically migrate their account to Facebook when they turn 13.”


A good measure, it should be down to the parent and child to come to some sort of agreement.

All in all its something worth taking a look at. It may be useful for tutors to interact with students above communicating with friends and family. Parents can oversee the interactions and be even more a part of their child’s education.

What’s your take?

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